Vaccination Segregation - A Tale in Two Parts · 20 May 2021
Part 1: No Card
“We have a reservation for six at six.”
“Whose name is the reservation under?”
“I see it.” The maître d’ looked up from her book. “May I see your cards?”
The party of six reached for their wallets in pockets and purses. Joe grumbled, “I thought this was a restaurant, not a bar. Why do you need to see our IDs?”
Everybody stared at Joe. The maître d’ was also astounded. “Uh… Not your ID sir. I need to see your vaccination card.”
Pauline nodded agreement even as she showed her vaccination card. “I made the reservations for vaccinated.”
“Vaccinated? There are reservations for vaccinated and not vaccinated? Since when?”
The maître d’ seemed to ignore Joe. “If you do not all have your card I will need to seat you in the unvaccinated area. Sorry.”
Pauline looked at her friends, “I thought Joe would have his vaccination by now. Even though he still wears his mask around everywhere.”
Joe looked around the restaurant. The front of the restaurant was brightly lit and the people were packed in enjoying the company of their family and friends. The back of the place was also well lit, but there seemed to be a pall over the place. The tables were spread apart and the tables all had half the seating of the tables in front. The people there seemed to be having a good time too, but masks dangled from people’s ears or hung around their chin and neck areas. The people in front did not look like they were still in the middle of a pandemic, but the people in the back looked afraid of the people at the front tables.
Vince said, “You been living under a rock, Joe? You gotta have your vaccination card to just walk around without a mask now.”
Joe grumbled. “The next thing you know you’ll get a fine if you don’t have the latest vaccine. Then, random police stops, mask or no mask. Mask profiling.”
The maître d’ told Pauline, “If even one person in your group does not have a card, you will need to sit in the unvaccinated area.”
Pauline was about to speak, but Joe beat her to the punch, “You all go on without me. I don’t feel much like celebrating now.”
“Ah c’mon Joe. It’ll be okay.”
“Yeah. We can sit in the back.”
They all tried to convince him to stay, but Joe was not buying it. “Nah. I do not want to drag you all to the back of the bus with me. You all have fun. I’ll see you Monday.”
Joe walked out of the restaurant as his friends were taken to their vaccinated table. He took a look in the window, and saw his friends wave as they were walking with the maître d’ to their table. He waved back before he shoved his hands into his coat pockets and trudged down the sidewalk to his car.
It was a few blocks to the parking garage that the firm had for the office. He fretted and fumed.
What was the deal with vaccination cards to be seated at restaurants? Or even to be out and about in on the streets without a surgical mask? Or whatever kind of masks people wore to keep others from becoming infected. Show your face, show your card! It all seemed like such nonsense. It all seemed like such a terrible way to segregate people.
And that was what it was. Segregation. It was as if the country or maybe even the world could not live without some sort of separation. Race. Religion. Creed. Culture. Gender. Political party. Everybody needed to fit into nice neat categories. And when they don’t, we need to put them into some new category. Vaccinated and unvaccinated. It was the great new divider. The haves and have nots had changed, Joe thought. It was not about money, it was about having the vaccines and not having the vaccines.
The funny thing was that Joe had gotten all his vaccines. He was one of the first for the earliest vaccines in the first pandemic. And he had kept up with them all since the beginning. But he never carried the cards. Even though he got a new one with all the updates every time they came out with a new one. He just threw into the junk drawer.
Joe finally reached the parking garage. He was still brooding about the whole incident. And he brooded all the way on his drive home. He wondered if his neighbor, Garth, was right. Maybe it was all a conspiracy.
© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi
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